Agriculture: Land

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 2nd March 2022.

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Photo of Mark Pritchard Mark Pritchard Conservative, The Wrekin

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will issue guidance to local councils on the potential impact of the change of use of agricultural land for solar farms on sustainable, local food production in those areas.

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

The Government recognises the importance of preserving greenfield land. Planning policy encourages the effective use of land by recommending the siting of large-scale solar farms on previously developed and non-agricultural land, provided it is not of high environmental value. Where projects are proposed on greenfield sites, guidance seeks to minimise the impacts on the best and most versatile agricultural land and requires developers to justify the use of any such land and ensure projects are designed to avoid, mitigate and where necessary compensate for impacts.

Solar farms and agricultural practice can co-exist. Many solar farms are constructed with raised panels that enable continued grazing of livestock. Solar energy can also help farmers raise their revenue streams from land less suited to higher value crop production.

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